Feeling Good About French

Meet Moshi, he’s my newest addition in Year 8 French. As you can see, he’s got an interesting face that some might call cute. This little squishy, furry and cute toy has recently helped me to make some important connections in my teaching.

I don’t think the idea is very new: someone asks a question in French and then throws a toy or ball to the person they want to answer. Only the person with the toy can speak. I have been using this questioning technique with my Year 8 class with success. They have a series of (or just one) questions relating to the current topic, this time it’s morning routines, and instead of the teacher asking all the questions, the students are taking on that role. This is one way the Moshi is being a welcome addition to the class.

What I didn’t realise was how the students would react to the toy. This has been the best bit. In a middle ability, co-ed class both the boys and girls love him and here is where I’ve made the connection. When they catch the toy and have to do something challenging and out of their normal comfort zone – speak French – they have an interesting reaction. They smile. I think catching the toy, liking it and having a ‘feel good’ moment and then doing the hard bit of speaking French is a great positive reinforcement. Wow!

I’ve decided to talk about this and other things at the Sydney TeachMeet in a micro 2-minute presentation. Looking forward to it! Here is my presentation slide.